Donald Sylvester has worked on over 100 films in the last 25 years and is considered one of the top people working in the craft of Post-Production Sound today. I asked him a few simple questions via email and he countered with some really insightful and meaningful answers. Enjoy it: Where were you born and… Continue reading Interview with Supervising Sound Editor Donald Sylvester (Logan, Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma)
Wylie Statement is a gem. It’s a simple as that. This is truly one of my favorite interviews. In my subjective opinion, it’s a must read for anyone in the industry and for those attempting to get into the industry. His answers were entertaining, educational, and there is a theme that ties it all together. See if you can figure it out. Hope you enjoy.
George Lucas was very involved in the making of “Revenge of the Jedi”, and spent a lot of time on the sets. I got on very well with George, and we had many discussions about the use of computers in film making and where that was going to go. Looking back, of course he was absolutely right. He is a most incredible person and visionary and I really loved working with him.
However, working on “Revenge of the Jedi” (which was its original title), was very intense and not one of my favourite experiences.
Piero Mura has worked in the sound department on over 100 films in the last 25+ years. His list of credits include Ben Hur, Fast & Furious 6, Skyfall, Warrior, War of the Worlds, and Training Day to name a few. It was an honor talking to him about his career and sound in general.… Continue reading Interview with Sound Editor Piero Mura (The Accountant, 500 Days of Summer)
Effects editors are responsible for building the entire sonic environment for a film, everything from backgrounds to the sync effects we see on screen. The majority (90% and up) of the sounds heard in film are added by editors. But it’s more than just see car, hear car. We also need to come up with sounds that identify with characters or moods or that tell stories without the audience having to see something on screen to know what’s happening.
Modern soundtrack are far more complex then ever before – There are multiple formats at delivery and the final soundtrack has to play in Dolby Atmos – 7.1 – 5.1 – stereo and on your mobile device. The attention to detail is very important and QC of all areas of the process is a critical part. This leads to other roles that are not always related to sound editing and design but also tech support and management.
Not really. Music is something I’ve always done. I was arranging for bands and choirs from junior high on. I went to NYU film school with the intention of becoming a director or screenwriter, but over time I discovered that my musical abilities were more unique and more marketable.
You need to be a good listener. We work for editors. Editors have different criterion for each show we work on. Some like it big and over the top. some like it subtle and more realistic. Each time a different foley editor would come into the room to supervise the recording, I would walk away with a better understanding about how things should sound. It’s important to gain the trust of your editors and listen to what they have to say. When they want something heavier you need to understand what they mean. Does heavier mean louder? Bigger? It’s a subjective art with lots of possible variations. It’s important to do things the way the client intends for it to be heard.
Everything used to be a lot more time consuming and cumbersome.
As an example you had to go down to the sound library and search through reels of sound fx (later CDs) armed with a notebook looking for one sound effect. You usually picked the first one you found, took it back to your room, and sampled it in to the computer and synchronized it to the picture and went to the next effect and the repeated the cycle. since you could only do very short sequences because of lack of computer memory, you laid back to tape and hand wrote (legibly) each event on a cue sheet for the mixer.
Now you audition sounds from your database of hundreds of thousands of sound effects available to you remotely and pick just the right sound, and if you want to alter the sound, you have at your disposal a dizzying amount of plug-ins to change every aspect of your sound to fit the picture. You then upload it for the mixer to open in his session. (no more carrying reels and reels to the stage)
Whenever I tech scout a location I am always looking for what may effect the sound track, and if so whether or not the audience will be distracted by it. For example, traffic noise is easier to accept if you can SEE it. It’s much harder to accept extraneous noise if you have no idea where it’s coming from. Transformers and hum from lights is also a concern; you want control over heat/AC and traffic control if possible! There are many variables to consider. So, my advice is to pay attention; especially to what’s hidden. Consider what’s behind locked doors, above you and below you. Some things you won’t hear until you have a quiet room and the microphone is cranked up.